A little garden in the city

Little garden in the city, May 1925

{This article appeared on 16 May 1925 in The Star, a Johannesburg newspaper}

Both beauty and privacy were soon obtained by the growing of a purple-flowered convolvulus, which flung its wreaths of heart-shaped leaves and its vase-shaped blossoms over a roughly constructed barrier. Soil for flower beds was absent, but building was going on across the road and other gardens being demolished: so 12 loads were purchased and a start was made with what is now the middle bed.

In the centre of this a lilac tree was planted and with it a lavender bush and the sweet-scented Aloysia citriodora or verbena. They have justified the planter's hopes, though the lilac yet keeps expectation on tiptoe; for, so far, it has not produced the wished-for trusses of bloom.

Then along the ugly southern boundary a pergola was erected and covered with nasturtiums and other climbers and soon a pepper tree grew up and contributed to the friendly stretch of green.

More beds were made by degrees and planted with such hardy subjects as dahlia, perennial phlox, Michaelmas daisies, nerines, belladonna lilies and shasta daisies; a little cassia tree was planted, and purple- and red-flowered salvia to make some cheer.

The guardian of this green retreat is a prickly and formidable looking aloe which has sprung from a small bit thrown out as refuse to the Valley Road and brought home and treasured by the geni of the place. Its stem is now as thick as a man's arm.

Old-fashioned geraniums and fuchsias are thriving in pots that are dotted about wherever there is room; for space is precious and must not be wasted. Pests seem to know at what a cost the garden has been made for they seldom become conspicuous; and sometimes, but not often, stray birds find their way in to this oasis of the town and pipe for a while their grateful songs.

Near the house itself there are hanging baskets of ferns and asparagus, and on the dagga-made [sic; 'dagga' is marijuana in South Africa, 'dagha' is a cement-sand mixture] walls, ivy, and old-world fuchsia and, just now, the autumn glory of Virginia creeper, its stems and lovely leaves protesting in a flush of brilliant scarlet as they pass with the dying of the garden year. >>